Gilani, Karzai vow to stamp out extremism (Lead)

May 13th, 2009 - 10:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, May 13 (IANS) Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, at their second meeting in a week, Wednesday vowed to stamp out militancy from their respective sides of their border.
Meeting with Gilani here on the sidelines of the Third Regional Economic Cooperation Conference on Afghanistan (RECCA), Karzai said his government would launch an operation similar to the one being conducted against the Taliban in Pakistan’s troubled North West Frontier Province.

Both leaders also discussed ways to enhance their intelligence sharing mechanism, furthering cooperation in the defence field and strengthening people-to-people contacts through increased parliamentary exchanges, APP reported.

Gilani and Karzai had met earlier this month at the trilateral US-Afghanistan-Pakistan summit President Barrack Obama had hosted to take forward his new Af-Pak strategy for controlling militancy in the region.

According to Gilani, the successful RECCA meeting reflected Pakistan’s commitment to support Afghanistan’s development by all possible means.

Karzai was guest of honour at the two-day conference, which is being attended by delegates from 40 countries, including business leaders and international organisations.

Officials said the meeting is likely to approve funding for a range of sectors like transportation, energy, trade, and infrastructure.

Security fears prompted by the Pakistani military’s action against the Taliban in the country’s troubled northwest forced a change in the venue of the conference from a convention centre to the PM House.

Inaugurating the conference, Gilani said: “We will transform our region into one where terrorism and extremism are but a distant memory.

“(This will enable) future generations enjoy the fruits of freedom, development and prosperity in an environment of security, stability and abundant opportunity,” he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Karzai said extremism threatened livelihoods.

“The most menacing challenge to the region’s prosperity today is extremism and terrorism which threatens our lives and livelihoods,” he said.

Suicide attacks and other forms of violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India were grim reminders of the militants’ growing reach, Karzai said, charging them with “hindering our progress towards peace and prosperity”, he added.

Vehicles transporting Afghan merchandise and NATO supplies to landlocked Afghanistan through Pakistan are frequently attacked.

Taliban fighters Wednesday attacked a NATO supply terminal outside Peshawar, capital of Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NFWP), destroying eight vehicles.

“Such terrorist atrocities have a serious effect on trade and commerce,” Karzai maintained.

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